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LENOX, Mass. — As part of a week-long series of events commemorating the local legacy of W.E.B. Du Bois and his family, Multicultural BRIDGE and Shakespeare & Company will present a staged reading of Knock Me a Kiss by playwright Charles Smith on Friday, February 18 at 7 p.m., at the Tina Packer Playhouse.
Directed by Regge Life and featuring Nehassaiu deGannes, Cloteal L. Horne, L. James, and Kevin Craig West, Knock Me a Kiss tells the story of the 1928 marriage of W.E.B. Du Bois’ daughter Yolande to one of the great poets of the Harlem Renaissance, Countee Cullen. This union between the daughter of one of the country’s most well-known black intellectuals and a poet and leader of the New Negro movement begins with great pomp and circumstance, but soon, love – and life – step in the way.
The production will be followed by a panel discussion and question-and-answer session moderated by Gwendolyn VanSant, CEO of Multicultural BRIDGE and Vice Chair of the Great Barrington Du Bois Legacy Committee, and featuring:
• Mary Ashong, Assistant Professor, Clark Atlanta University
• Whitney Battle Baptiste, Ph.D., Professor of Anthropology, UMASS Amherst, Director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Center
• Delano Burrowes, Writer and Visual/Performance Artist, Creator of The Great Barrington Project: Unbleaching the Souls of Black Folk
• Regge Life, Director, Knock Me a Kiss
• Charles Smith, Playwright, Knock Me a Kiss
The performance precedes the memorial service and burial of Dr. Yolande Du Bois Williams Irvin, the granddaughter of W.E.B. Du Bois, at the family gravesite at the Mahaiwe Cemetery in Great Barrington. Other Dr. Yolande Du Bois Williams Irving Memorial events will be hosted by BRIDGE as part of the Town of Great Barrington’s fifth annual W.E.B. Du Bois Legacy Festival, marking a special reparations moment in racial justice organizing.
Photo Caption: Yolande DuBois, daughter of W.E.B DuBois, is the subject of Knock Me a Kiss, to be staged as a reading on Friday, February 18 at 7 p.m., at Shakespeare & Company.
Founded in 2007, BRIDGE (dba Multicultural BRIDGE) is a grassroots organization dedicated to advancing equity and justice by promoting cultural competence, positive psychology, and mutual understanding and acceptance. The organization acts as a catalyst for change through collaboration, education, training, dialogue, fellowship and advocacy. BRIDGE is a minority and women-run non-profit certified by the Office of Supplier Diversity of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (SDP), with certified competencies in training, education, language access, and multicultural awareness.
About Shakespeare & Company
Founded in 1978, Shakespeare & Company is one of the leading Shakespeare festivals in the world, located in the Berkshires of Massachusetts. The organization welcomes more than 40,000 patrons annually, and is home to an internationally renowned Center for Actor Training and award-winning Education Program.
COVID-19 Code of Courtesy
To ensure the safety and health of patrons, staff, and artists, masks are required for all patrons, regardless of vaccination status, while indoors, and all patrons planning to attend any indoor performances are required to show a form of ID and one of the following a COVID-19 vaccination card, or proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within the last 48 hours. To view Shakespeare & Company’s most recent policies, visit shakespeare.org.